Monday 16 September 2019

Me, Myself and I: Courtney Smith, stylist

'I get up around 6 am every morning to get one up on the world'

Courtney Smith with the wardrobe that takes pride of place in her home. Photo: Dave Meehan.
Courtney Smith with the wardrobe that takes pride of place in her home. Photo: Dave Meehan.

Alison O'Riordan

Courtney Smith on the challenge of balancing a commercial brief with a creative vision.

The book that changed my life

I'm not sure any piece of literature has yet changed my life ... but 1) 'Fashion Babylon' by Imogen Edwards-Jones definitely intrigued me. I read it when I was in school while dreaming about a fabulous future in fashion. Fully fact or fiction? That still remains to be told as it is compiled from stories by anonymous "fashion insiders" ... but nevertheless, it is a must-read for any budding fashion designer or stylist.

The quote that keeps me sane

"If you can dream it, you can do it" – Enzo Ferrari

The best advice I've ever received

"You have a commercial brief to meet but a creative vision to fulfil." Daniel Holfeld [photographer] said it to me on a tough shoot once where I felt the concept was being stifled and this phrase has stuck with me ever since. I don't compromise on the vision anymore.

The film I've watched again and again

'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and 'Funny Face' – you just can't beat a Hepburn classic.

The song I want played at my funeral

'Busy Being Fabulous' by Eagles. I think the title says it all! Oh, and I have made my sister Kirsty promise to sing 'For Good' from 'Wicked' ... that sounds pretty morbid, but it's our thing.

The scent that evokes pleasant memories

This sounds odd, but the aroma of stew being cooked. It's not something I smell often but when I do, it takes me back to my childhood and happy memories of my amazing minder Miriam and her crazy house full of kids, with 'The Goonies' on repeat and fizzy orange lollipops.

The piece of furniture that will become an heirloom

There is a 2) hand-made wooden baby chair that my great-great-grandfather built for his son, and has been passed down the Smith family for years ... it's almost 150 years old at this stage. I'm sure my sis and I will be fighting over it eventually.

The picture that is worth a thousand words

3) A picture of my parents on their first New Year together. It's just a really precious moment captured by a friend and if you needed any convincing that true love exists, then this photo epitomises that perfectly.

The item that takes pride of place in my wardrobe

This 4) killer animal-print silk vintage kimono I got in America; it's so old and delicate that it keeps ripping now so I don't wear it as much as I'd like. I have to make regular trips to The Zip Yard to mend the holes ... but I still adore it.

The sentimental piece of jewellery

I have a 5) gold Claddagh ring that my mum 'gave' to me (I stole from her jewellery box) that I wear every single day. I love the symbolism that wearing the heart facing inwards means someone has captured your heart.

Favourite restaurant in the world

Just one? I am a major foodie so I love discovering new eateries. I could probably give you a best restaurant by city guide. But if I must choose, it has to be Sushi Samba in London. The sushi and cocktails are out of this world, and dining on the 39th floor of the Heron Tower, with panoramic views of the city, makes you feel like you are on top of the world.

The item I'd save in a fire

My phone. It is usually glued to my hand for work anyway. I don't think I could survive without it ... plus I could phone the fire brigade and hopefully save everything else too?

The characteristic I like most in myself

My drive. I have been self-employed since I left college and have never looked back. I get up around 6am every morning to get one up on the world. I am never fully satisfied with work and always strive for perfection in everything I put my name to. Every year, I write a new list of goals I want to achieve ... it gives me a clear direction. I'm not one to just 'wing' it.

And least

My self-criticism. I guess it's a very Irish thing and it also probably comes from my striving for perfection, but I am my own worst critic. I still cringe watching myself on TV or will find something to critique in a shoot I styled. But it also helps me grow and improve each time.

My first kiss

A boy in my primary school class, Stephen – we kissed at the school disco sitting on a bench and then my sister told on me! Sound.

The last time I cried

... with my best friend Grace right beside me to wipe away my tears.

It was the best of times

Camping outdoors in a tiny village in the Hana Rainforest in Hawaii with an incredible bunch of friends and swimming in the crystal blue bay at night.

It was the worst of times

Realising that same crystal blue bay was actually home to sharks underneath us! (I survived – obviously.)

The person I call when things go pear-shaped

My dad. He is cool, calm and collected ... all the things I certainly am not when things go awry. Otherwise, my boyfriend Mark, as he has this innate ability to put a smile on my face and make me laugh.

My death-row dinner

Yellow tail crispy taquitos from Sushi Samba to start; then without a doubt the fillet steak with pepper sauce from the Trocadero, and finished with the world's best crème brulee (I'm still searching for this). Oh, and a bottle (or two) of Chateauneuf du Pape.

Pet peeves

People eating apples – the combo of both crunch and slurp drives me insane. It's probably the main reason I opt to drive everywhere instead of taking public transport.

Follow Courtney Smith on Twitter @CocoSmithStyle for behind-the-scenes on shoots and TV shows as well as daily fashion feeds

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